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Educating Norfolk: League tables and Ofsted criticism present similar problems for Suffolk

07:00 25 February 2014

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education, skills and young people.

Archant

Education in Suffolk, like that in Norfolk, has been under scrutiny for its persistent poor showing in national league tables, and vocal concerns from Ofsted.

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Earlier this month, chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw told MPs: “We have some counties in England that are performing incredibly badly, Suffolk and Norfolk being two of them.”

Last September, inspectors were dispatched in a blitz of inspections of 33 Suffolk schools, similar to the 28-school operation in Norfolk earlier in the year. In its report, Ofsted said standards in schools were “unacceptable”.

In another echo of Norfolk’s experiences, Suffolk County Council itself became the target of the inspectors in January when a five-day visit asked how well it supports school improvement.

The council is awaiting the outcome.

Suffolk and Norfolk came 137th and 138th out of 151 authorities in England in last month’s GCSE league tables, but while for Norfolk this represented a 20 place drop, for Suffolk it at least showed an improvement of five places.

The situation with primary schools was less positive, with Suffolk the joint fourth-worst authority in England for the number of pupils reaching the required level four standard in reading, writing and maths. 70pc met the target, compared to 71pc in Norfolk and an England average of 75pc.

Suffolk County Council has said raising education standards is its “top priority”, and has launched a Raising the Bar programme.

The scheme’s aims include building better relationships between schools, further education and businesses to give pupils work skills, complete moves to a two-tier school system, and recruit more school governors and mentors.

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2 comments

  • Yes Daisy and very few academies.....hence the political attack with Ofsted used as the spearhead.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • This is because Suffolk has had the same low level of funding for the last few decades as Norfolk, the same low spending on facilities, the same low spending on staff and the same problems attracting staff who are married because of limited employment opportunities for their partners. It may also be because Suffolk, like Norfolk, had middle schools .Middle schools in Norfolk from the early 80s to recently saw a year group educated on the cheap-no high school facilities, in the early years far fewer graduate teachers and possibly not as much funding per head. This EDP reporter should look at the average Norfolk and Suffolk school and compare the funding per pupil received over the last thirty years with that in other counties and show us the figures, I am happy to admit to being wrong, but I believe we have had a raw deal for a long time in our schools

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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